Yemeni President, Cabinet Resign Amid Deal With Rebels
As Shia Houthi rebels retain control over capital city, leaders step down
Update (2:31pm EST):
Yemeni President Abed Mansour Hadi, Prime Minister Khaled Bahah, and members of the Yemeni cabinet reportedly resigned from power on Thursday after the president acquiesced to the demands of Shia Houthi rebels who stormed his palace and private home in Sana'a earlier this week.
The Guardian reports:
Military officials close to the president, who like the other officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief reporters, said Hadi resigned after the Houthis pressured him to give a televised speech to calm the streets. ...
Bahah posted his resignation on his official Facebook page, saying he had held office in “very complicated circumstances”. He said he had resigned to “avoid being dragged into an abyss of unconstructive policies based on no law”. He said: “We don’t want to be a party to what is happening or will happen.”
Although the Houthis had promised to relinquish control over Hadi's home and palace as part of a power-sharing deal with the president brokered after days of escalating clashes, rebels continued to stand guard Thursday afternoon at both buildings.
Yemeni President Abed Mansour Hadi has yielded to the demands of the Shia Houthi rebels who stormed his palace and private home in Sana'a this week, according to reports on Thursday.
After several days of escalating clashes between the rebels and the Yemeni military, fueling speculation of a possible coup, the president reportedly agreed to a power-sharing deal with Houthi leaders that will reduce the government's authority and give marginalized political groups a voice in state and military affairs.
In return, the rebels will relinquish their control over several government facilities, military bases, and media outlets, which they seized during a four-month siege on Sana'a that began last September. They will also release Hadi's chief of staff, whom they captured over the weekend.
The Guardian reports:
A senior Houthi official welcomed the compromise but warned that deadlines had been breached when previous deals had been struck over the past three months. “This deal specifies a two week grace period to implement the core of what was agreed upon and we will be watching up close to see whether the government is serious or not this time,” a member of the Houthi political council told the Guardian.
Houthi rebels have long accused Hadi of protecting corrupt politicians and civil servants and attempting to sidestep a previous power-sharing deal with the group. Months of clashes, which erupted after relentless protests over skyrocketing fuel prices, as well as a years-long U.S.-led covert air strike campaign, have left Yemeni residents in a state of leaderless crisis and widespread conflict and hunger.
Hadi's acquiescence to the rebels comes after senior Houthi leader, Abdel Malik al-Houthi, warned him in a televised speech Tuesday night, "We… will not hesitate to impose any necessary measures to implement the peace and partnership agreement."
Mohammed Albasha, a spokesman for the Yemeni Embassy in Washington, D.C., told CNN on Thursday, "The situation is fluid. It's critical. The government was paralyzed. Parts of the government [were] dysfunctional, but we did not reach the point of no return." He added that the deal could signify a return to stability.
A spokesman for the Houthis agreed. "This deal draws the road map for the political process going forward with the participation of all factions in Yemen," he said Thursday. "In the past, timelines were not respected, [we] hope this time will be different."